Airtel to invest $9 billion in 3 years to boost telecom network

Airtel announces Project Leap
Telecom network operator Bharti Airtel today announced plans to make an investment of $9 billion or Rs 60,000 crore in networks in the next 3 years — in a bid to take on Relinace Jio Infocomm’s 4G forway.

Usually, Bharti Airtel invests $3 billion plus annually towards Capex in India, South Asia and Africa. Airtel has annual revenues of $15 billion.

The additional Capex is seen as a response to the $15 billion investment Reliance Jio Infocomm is making to ensure pan India 4G presence in 18,000 plus towns. The company will be able to address call drops issue as well.

Sunil Mittal-promoted company does not share specific details on its 3G and 4G targets. Reliance Jio Infocomm is targeting 4G broadband presence in all telecom circles.

Bharti Airtel has already invested Rs 1,60,000 crore in its active and passive telecom network, spectrum, fiber, submarine cables and systems till date.

The network transformation program called Project Leap will be aimed at improving network quality and delivering the best customer experience.

Recently, Vodafone Group plc announced a similar telecom investment program called Project Spring. Vodafone announced Project Spring after exiting from Verizon Wireless in the U.S.

“Project Leap will catapult the Airtel network to be a world class network in the coming three years,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Bharti Airtel (India & South Asia).
Airtel data booms


# to deploy 70,000 base stations in fiscal 2015-16
# to deploy over 160,000 base stations in 3 years
# 60% network will be mobile broadband enabled
# mobile broadband coverage in all towns and 250,000 villages by March 2016
# mobile broadband in over 500,000 villages in 3 years
# to spend on small cells, carrier aggregation solutions, Wi-Fi
# 50 Mbps speed for home broadband users by 2016
# 550,000 Kms of domestic and international fiber
Airtel India Performance

Bharti Airtel will deploy over 70,000 base stations in fiscal 2015-16. This will be the largest deployment in a single year since its inception.

More than 60 percent of Airtel’s network will be mobile broadband enabled by March 2016. Airtel will deploy over 160,000 base stations, effectively doubling its presence in three years.

Airtel will expand its mobile broadband coverage to all towns and over 250,000 villages by March 2016. Airtel plans to offer mobile broadband to over 500,000 villages in three years .

Bharti Airtel will deploy small cells, carrier aggregation solutions, Wi-Fi and the use of multiple technologies across different spectrum bands.

Airtel plans to deploy over 1,00,000 solutions through a combination of Wi-Fi hotspots, small cells and indoor solutions in 3 years.

Bharti Airtel will cumulatively deploy more than 550,000 Kms of domestic and international fiber to drive down latency, improve customer experience and serve the growing demand of data services.

Airtel will swap its legacy networks and base stations and replace them with smaller and efficient technologies to improve customer experience. Modern base stations will use a single radio access network (Single RAN) to manage multiple spectrum bands.

Airtel will modernize its over 3 million home broadband network by upgrading its copper assets through Vectoring Technology — enabling Airtel to offer 50 Mbps speeds by 2016 from its current 16 Mbps. Airtel plans to deploy fiber to the home (FTTH) to offer up to 100 Mbps speeds.

Airtel will use its domestic infrastructure to deploy a range of solutions that include fiber to the building as well as Internet Wireless Access Network (IWAN). As part of this program, Airtel plans to provide seamless connectivity to small and medium enterprises (SMBs).

Airtel will invest in SON (Self Optimising Networks for automatic network optimization), Geo spatial network tools for targeted network planning, capacity enhancements, CEM (Customer experience management) as well as software defined networks that will dramatically improve customer experience.

Bharti Airtel will reduce its carbon footprint by up to 70 percent on a per unit basis in the next 3 years.

Top telecom network vendors such as Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, Nokia Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ciena, Juniper Networks, Brocade and HPE will be looking for some of the fresh contracts.

Image caption: (Left to Right) Abhay Savargaonkar, CTO, Bharti Airtel, Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Bharti Airtel (India and South Asia) and Shyam Mardikar, chief architecture and planning, Bharti Airtel

Baburajan K
[email protected]